Eoscansor cobrensis: Oldest Known Tree-Climbing Reptile

Recently, a team of researchers published paper on fossil discovery of Eoscansor cobrensis from New Mexico. Paper was published “Annals of the Carnegie Museumjournal.

About Eoscansor cobrensis

  • Eoscansor cobrensis is a reptile, belonging to Pennsylvanian subperiod of Carboniferous period, around 305 million years ago. It used to live in area around present-day New Mexico.
  • The species belong to Varanopidae, which is an extinct family of reptiles.  They were similar to monitor lizards.
  • The ancient reptile was 24.5 cm in length and 58.3 g in weight.
  • Other aspects of its anatomy highlights are “Eoscansor cobrensiswas a climber, and possibly arboreal meaning that, the species was living in trees.

Background

Incomplete skeleton of Eoscansor cobrensis was collected from the El Cobre Canyon Formation. It is located in Cañon del Cobre of Rio Arriba County in New Mexico. Fossil is preserved on two blocks, block A & block B.

Significance of the discovery

Discovery of fossils of Eoscansor cobrensis is significant for fossil record. This discovery will push back understanding to time, when reptiles started climbing some 15 million years ago. Earlier, the oldest discovered climbing reptile belonged to 290-million-year-old rocks in Germany. Furthermore, the discovery of fossil indicates that, reptiles used to be diverse in terms of anatomy & behaviours during Pennsylvanian subperiod.

Features of the fossil

Different anatomical features of the fossil skeleton such as limbs, hands, and feet, highlights that, they used to climb trees. Teeth highlights that, the species was a predator and it perhaps ate insects.

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